Fort Leavenworth, Kan. – Over the past 15 years, the Department of Defense has fought a war against terrorism around the globe. In this fight, conventional and special operations forces have found it necessary to rely on one another’s capabilities.
This interdependence created a need to train and educate on how to integrate their special forces with conventional forces.
Recently, the Mission Command Training Program helped achieve this goal through executing its first of a kind warfighter, incorporating conventional forces and special operations forces training audiences.
Warfighter 16-4 simultaneously took place at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Fort Riley Kansas, April 6 to 15.
During the exercise, a primary training audience XVII Airborne Corps (Abn.) executed two mission sets as a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) and as Combined Joint Land Forces Component Command (CJLFCC). Of equal importance, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) from the Utah Army National Guard was incorporated as a Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF).
“This warfighter was extremely complex” said, Col. Edward T. Bohnemann, commander MCTP, he also added “this warfighter is crucial to XVIII Abn. and their Secretary of Defense Global Response Force requirement…and having an actual CJSOTF benefits both our conventional and special forces to prepare for and fight and win in a complex operating environment”.
“One thing that will remain constant is the importance of relationship during operations,” said Col Glenn Thomas, chief Operations Group Juliet. “Warfighters provide conventional and special forces a venue to train together.”
Previously at warfighters, MCTP’s Operations Group Juliet had the responsibility to replicate Special Forces and provide other operations groups’ subject matter experts. This assisted in the training and education on the roles of special operations forces may play in supporting major combat operations.
“The participation by 19th Special Operations Group provided Juliet and MCTP an opportunity to build a foundation to improve how we train both special operations forces and conventional forces in unified land operations” said Thomas.
Bohnemann added, “Integration of special forces is extremely important as we build on those lessons we have observed and learned over the last 15 years.”
Furthermore, the integration is also in line with the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) Commanders intent, according to Sgt. Maj. Gary Barnes, operations sergeant major, 19th Special Forces Group (Abn.).
Special Operations and Conventional Forces integration, interoperability and interdependence or SOF-CF I3, is tremendously important for maximizing both forces capabilities.
“We wanted to work alongside a conventional forces headquarters to refine our staff process and compare our staff process…we got a lot of value out of this experience” said Barnes
Barnes added, “Across the 19th, all of the non-commissioned officers have an opportunity to refresh and retrain on Army mission command systems and special operations forces mission command systems, which is something we had not done in quite sometime.”
“We are very flexible, continually adapting our exercise to meet the needs of the Army…to build readiness and develop leaders for the complex operational environment that faces our country,” said Bohnemann, addressing the Chief of Staff’s guidance to support collective training.
Approximately 2,500 services members, contractors and Department of Defense Civilians supported this warfighter. In addition to eight training audiences.